5 Reasons why Japanese Social Media is now HOT for Brands
1. The Social Media network most in-tune with brand promotion is finally taking off in Japan, Facebook
Japan is one of the few countries that had managed to keep local Social Media Networks known as ‘SNS’, more popular than Facebook. But now this is changing.
Unlike Linkedin who started their Japanese services in October last year, Facebook had their Japanese site ready since 2008. Facebook was slow in winning a Japanese userbase, probably due to the fact that it only accepts real usernames. Japanese people are notoriously cautious about putting their real names or photos of themselves up on the Internet. Another reason it took so long is because of the structure of Facebook — Japanese people find it difficult to take in information all streamed in one place.
However Facebook has now definitely found a way to win the heart of Japanese users and the user population is growing as we speak. This makes it easier for western brands to work on promotions and campaigns as it’s now barrier free (though campaigns will still require localisation). Facebook is also much easier to study than other local SNS platforms. It my prediction that Facebook will be sitting in the middle of Japanese Social Media Marketing for 2012.
2. Smartphone No1 in industry rankings, due to the appearance of SIM Unlocked smartphones
It took a while for the Japanese to leave their favoured high quality TV phones and start a new relationship with smartphones. But thanks for the appearance of SIM unlocked smartphones last year, users have an opportunity to test drive devices and smartphones are now dominating the market.
Japanese people love doing everything on their mobiles and it has been this way for long time. We adore our hand held gadgets. So Japanese corporations are focusing on engaging consumers through Social Media on their mobile. Our favourite devices are iPhone, Android and iPad !
3. Collaboration among Japanese Social Media Networks. More platforms, each complimenting one another
Mixi, a Social Network with the largest user base in Japan, started a collaboration with Twitter at the end of November last year. The collaboration was triggered by the Great North East Japan Earthquake as both online spaces were subject to a massive amount of information exchange following 11 March 2011. They worked together to create something we can rely upon as part of an emergency infrastructure backup.
Mixi is based on a private network with online pseudonyms, whereas Facebook is a public network where users are registered with real names. Mixi is used by people who want to control their network depth, people who want to stay in their comfort zone. The CEO of Mixi looks at the potential collaboration with Facebook positively citing the differences between the two networks and how they will compliment each other.
4. More than a half of Japanese companies will increase their Social Media budget for 2012
More than half of the corporations in Japan have revealed that they will be increasing their budget for Social Media Marketing in 2012 — based on the study carried out by the SendenKaigi team (published in January 2012). 49% of them said it will increase and 3% said it will hugely increase. 18% answered it will stay the same as last year. No one said it’ll decrease.
We can breathe a deep sigh of relief and say … finally!!
Also when they were asked what devices, areas and tools they’ll be focusing this year, more than 35% of them answered ’smartphones’ followed by Facebook (19%) and Twitter (2%).
5. Public acceptance of Social Media as a CRM tool
Social Media once used to exist just for ‘fun’. However as it continued to evolve, both consumers and corporations started to accept the value of Social Media as a valuable conversation space for better and more content relationships. For companies Social Media pages are now considered to be as important as websites and advertisements.
Corporations and brands need to evolve together with their customer base. Talking to customers, listening to them, doing what they like to see and building loyalty through Social Media has become an important task. The time where you could operate a one way selling method has long gone in Japan. It’s now time to have dialogue with your customers to learn how you can survive in this economy.
Japanese Social Media Service, JAPAN BUZZ: www.japanbuzz.info
Bilingual Digital Boutique, FIT Digital: www.fitdigital.co.uk